Managing clinic recruitment: sourcing the right skills for administrative roles
Receptionists and administrators often serve as the 'face' of a clinic, giving clients the first impression of your practice. Exceptional customer service is key, so the person in this role needs to be friendly, professional and welcoming. In this series discussing recruitment for specific roles, Clinic Manager
Barbara Deakin advises on the steps to take to find the perfect administrative employee
In the next series of articles I will be discussing recruitment for specific roles within your clinic. As mentioned briefly in one of my previous columns (Deakin, 2013), it is essential to focus and pay close attention when choosing staff that provide the highest quality of care, while also being cost-effective in your decision-making.
Finding the recruitment process that suits you
In my practice management column on staffing and logistics (Deakin, 2013), I mentioned that before beginning the recruitment process, you need to know exactly what skills are required to fulfil the position you are hiring for. You also need to have a clear idea of your practice's ethos and working culture, as this will help you decide whether a candidate will be a good fit for your particular clinic environment.
There are several different ways to go about advertising for the role you have to offer; some clinics use online recruitment sites and others approach specialist recruitment agencies who can whittle down candidates and present you with the top applicants. If you prefer to have more control over the process and are happy to sift through applications, then online advertising would be ideal. Word of mouth is another method of recruitment which should not be dismissed; talk to your existing staff as they might know someone who would be excellent for the role and this will cut the cost of using a recruitment agency. However, if you have limited time and resources, help from someone with an understanding of the skills you require can take a huge weight off your shoulders. If you decide to go with an agency, be sure to check the terms and conditions of their service and remember that the rates they offer are negotiable.
Who are you looking to hire?
Once you have chosen which route you are going to use to recruit your new member of staff, you will need to decide on the processes and steps you need to take to hire them. speak to your existing staff and find out what they thought was good and bad about the process when they were recruited. You will then need to decide on key aspects, such as: How long do you need to complete the process? How many people will you interview? What format will the interviews take? If the selection and interview process is going to be delegated to someone else, you will need to make sure they have a clear understanding of what is needed from the successful candidate. It may be helpful to produce a document which contains a breakdown of the role, the skills required and a brief overview of the practice ethos. You should also create a job description to share with each candidate at the interview stage.
skills and experience
When reviewing applicants' CVs and covering letters, you should look for candidates who have had previous experience working in a medical environment. They do not need to have the expertise or knowledge of one of your clinicians, but a basic understanding of medical terminology and the day-to-day running of a clinic will enable them to settle into their role quicker than someone with no previous experience. Your chosen candidate will also need to be happy and friendly, as a positive personality is essential in a role such as this. Other skills which are a necessity in this role include excellent organisation, punctuality, neat presentation, initiative, approachability and a sensitive approach to the needs of others. Clinics are fast-paced and busy spaces, so the receptionist/administrator needs to be able to juggle several tasks at once. Whether it is answering phone calls, inputting new patient data or booking appointments, you need someone who works swiftly and proficiently. Your ideal candidate will need to have an understanding of the various computer operating systems used in-clinic, and the programmes and software used to hold client information, book appointments and secure information. Lastly, if the candidate has a full understanding of the Data Protection Act (1998) and other relevant industry regulations, this should immediately elevate their position on your shortlist. However, this knowledge can be easily taught.